Message from Father Langan, February 27-28

February 27-28, 2021

Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

Tests are a fact of life!  I have never met anyone who “enjoys” taking tests or having to be tested whether it be academic, medical, for employment or otherwise.  Tests mean stress and who in their right mind wants to go through it.  We wait for the results many times with fear and trepidation.  When the results are favorable we exalt and when not, we are in agony.  Either way, however, we get a good look at who we are and what we are capable of doing or where we need improvement.  The test exposes our character.

Today’s Old Testament lesson from Genesis starts with God putting Abraham to the test.  As heart-wrenching as it was, he passed with “flying colors” and we ourselves are part of the results.  Do we not acclaim Abraham to be “our father in faith”, (cf. Eucharistic Prayer 1)?  We cannot always anticipate what the results may be, but if God is putting us to the test it is because He wants us to see ourselves in relationship to Him as loving, trustful and obedient, God gains nothing by this test; we gain everything.

Very often our loving Father softens the angst with regard to the “test”.  He certainly does in the Gospel of the Transfiguration.  Forty days from this revealing of Jesus’ divinity, the apostles will be in the midst of Our Savior’s Passion.  Seemingly, everything they hoped for would be dashed.  In the midst of trial it is easy to forget the blessings and goodness that preceded.  Perhaps it is the same with us.  We forget all the good that the Lord has bestowed on us.  The test overwhelms and we lose sight of the results yet to come.  Like Abraham, we need to remember that God is indeed faithful to us and has only our best interest in store.  Be not afraid of the test nor cower from it.  The best is coming.

We offer our congratulations to our children who on Saturday made their First Confession.  We commend their parents and catechists who diligently prepared them for this important day.  They beautifully passed the test, and may they now experience the love of Jesus more profoundly in their lives.  May we as well.

Blessings on your Lenten journey,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, February 20-21

February 20-21

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Forty days from now we will find ourselves at the foot of the Cross.  Each day of Lent should bring us closer to the summit of our salvation.

So how do we prepare ourselves for this?  Our Lord’s words at the very beginning of His ministry set the direction for our journey to Calvary:  “Repent, and believe in the Gospel”.  These words are not unfamiliar to us for indeed we may have heard them on Ash Wednesday when we were sprinkled with the burned remains of last year’s palms.  We began our days of penitence not in gloom and doom, but with a renewed vitality to live the Faith handed down to us.

We recognize that we are sinners and that sin carries with it a burden that the Lord does not wish to be a ball and chain around our souls.  He came to set us free, and continues to set us free, as many times as we need, through the joyful Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Next week God’s little lambs, our children preparing for their First Confession, are filled with that simple trusting joy as they prepare to meet the Lord of mercy.  These little ones are our teachers.  They remind us how to approach the Lord in trust and confidence NOT in hearing and trembling.

So many souls these days are looking for assurance and certainty in a very uncertain world.  These can be found in precisely what Our Lord has left us:  His mercy without end in the Sacrament of Forgiveness.  Confession is a wondrous gift and the peace that comes from making a good confession cannot be met by anything in the world other than receiving Our Savior in the Holy Eucharist.  For anyone who has forgotten the abundance of heavenly grace that fills our souls as a result of Confession, I invite you to come and see the Mercy God has waiting for you.  How can we possibly turn down such a gift?

With blessings for a fruitful Lent,

Father Langan

Lenten Schedule

Stations of the Cross (Fridays in Lent)

11:30 a.m. St. Mary Magdalen Church

5:30 p.m. St. Joseph, Rileyville

7:00 p.m. St. Bernard, Beach Lake

7:00 p.m. St. Mary Magdalen

Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament follows these 7p.m. Stations at St. Mary Magdalen

Confessions in Lent

Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. – 12p.m. – St. Mary Magdalen Church

Fridays, 11:00-11:30 a.m. – St. Mary Magdalen Church

Fridays, 6:00 p.m.-6:55 p.m. – St. Mary Magdalen Church

Saturdays, 3:15 p.m. – St. Bernard, Beach Lake

Sunday, 8:30 a.m. – St. Joseph, Rileyville

Sunday, St. John the Evangelist – 15 minutes prior to the Mass

Saturday evening and Sunday morning Confessions as listed in the bulletin.

Usual confessions before daily Masses at St. Mary Magdalen Church.

Evening Prayer (Vespers)

Evening Prayer (Vespers) will be offered Sundays in Lent at 4 p.m. in St. John the Evangelist.

Ash Wednesday Schedule

Ash Wednesday Mass Schedule

7:25AM – St. Mary Magdalen
12:05PM – St. Mary Magdalen
4:00PM – St. Mary Magdalen (Distribution of Ashes Only)

5:30PM – St. Joseph, Rileyville

6:00PM – St. Bernard, Beach Lake

Message from Father Langan, February 13-14

February 13-14

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

No sooner have we retired the poinsettias than we don the purple for Holy Lent.  Last year at this time the pandemic was rapidly spreading and we did not know what to expect.  As Easter drew near everything was coming to a stand still and sadly our churches were shuttered and we learned the meaning of virtual and live-streaming.  No doubt we thought by this time there would be a return to normalcy.  Well, we have adapted to the situation as best we can.  We grieve with those have lost loved ones due to the virus and console those who are afflicted.  Because we believe that the Good Lord can draw good out of every bad situation our faith has been tested but not faltered.  Hope ever sustains us.  The season we are about to enter, once again under the veil of uncertainty, is nonetheless a season of hope.

In special ways we affirm that hope by focusing on the Cross of our Savior Jesus Christ.  On Wednesday we come to receive the ashes on our heads in the form of a cross.  It is a double paradox.  Ashes are completely lifeless.  The Cross was the instrument of death.  But in Christ both symbolize a return to the new life that Christ gained for us by His death.  Our life has been recreated and restored though, with and in Him.  Our Friday stations are our weekly journey to Calvary so very reflective of the “calvaries” we all experience.  We cannot make sense out of them unless they are grafted to THE Calvary that has made all the difference.  Therefore we should make every effort to join in this penitential work.  Stations of the Cross are offered twice at St. Mary Magdalen and also at St. Bernard and St. Joseph.  Consult the bulletin for appropriate times.

Confessions are an essential part of our Lenten journey.  Your priests hear confessions every day before or after Masses and on Saturday mornings from 10:30 AM until 12:00 PM (noon).  That is when the light will be on for you.  There will not be confessions on Monday evenings since in the past years, hardly anyone took advantage of that time.  Many have preferred Saturday mornings which has been well attended.

Kindly be aware that on Ash Wednesday we will be returning to the ancient manner of distributing the blessed ashes (as has always been done in Europe and through most of the world).  The priests or deacon will says the words of repentance and sprinkle the ashes on the top of your head  in the form of the Cross.  Please come forward in single file, masked and six feet distance at the proper time.  May we have a fruitful Lent also by heeding the stipulations for fast and abstinence.

May God bless all of you on your Lenten pilgrimage.

Father Langan